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NIOSH releases booklets aimed at construction, home health care workers

NIOSH has released two booklets aimed at preventing injuries among workers in construction and home health care. For Spanish-language construction workers, NIOSH translated a guide outlining ways to prevent job-related musculoskeletal injuries. The booklet provides background information on ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorders from a construction perspective, as well as 20 two-page tip sheets describing equipment to reduce physical stresses on the body.

The second publication discusses hazards to which home health care workers might be exposed, such as overexertion, stress, weapons, illegal drugs, hostile animals, verbal abuse and needle sticks. Travel from worksite to worksite also exposes workers to transportation-related risks. According to NIOSH, more than 27,400 recorded injuries occurred among more than 896,800 home health care workers in 2007. The booklet includes prevention strategies and hazard checklists for employers and workers.


OSHA Publishes Illness-Injury Database

Data from 1996-2007 on workplace-related illnesses and injuries have been posted online in a searchable database from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The database includes information from more than 80,000 employers. This is the first time the information has been made available in an online database. The public can search establishment or industry-specific injury and illness data here.


U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) prohibits texting by drivers of commercial vehicles

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood announced federal guidance on Jan. 26, 2010, to expressly prohibit texting by drivers of commercial vehicles such as large trucks, buses and vans. The prohibition is effective immediately and applies to interstate truck drivers and commercial bus and van drivers who carry more than eight passengers. Truck and bus drivers who text while driving commercial vehicles may be subject to civil or criminal penalties of up to $2,750.


Study Examines Workers' Comp Recipients and Back Surgery

According to a new study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, patients receiving Workers' Compensation who are treated for back pain related to a herniated disk experience better results with nonsurgical treatment. Depending on the individual case, nonsurgical treatment options can include pain-relieving drugs, home exercise, and/or physical therapy. The percentage of patients returning to work or placed on disability was similar across the board, regardless of surgery or nonsurgical treatment and regardless of Workers' Compensation status.


Office of Disability and Employment Policy offers guidance on communication

The Office of Disability and Employment Policy offers a chart with affirmative and negative phrases when speaking about people with disabilities, as well as general communication tips when interacting with people with disabilities.


Tools to promote safety and health in construction

eLCOSH images is a collection of images intended to educate and promote safety and health in construction. The searchable collection includes images that may illustrate good practices or bad practices. Images are available for use in print publications, training presentations, videos, websites, etc. and can be downloaded in resolutions appropriate for both print use and screen use.


OSHA letter of interpretation: on applying paint and stickers to helmets

In response to a question concerning the use of adhesive stickers or paints on protective helmets, OSHA says they must be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, unless the employer can demonstrate that the altered protective helmet is equally as effective and protective as those meeting the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z89.1. In addition, the paint and stickers may not conceal defects or eliminate electrical resistance.


OSHA releases booklet on hex chrome

OSHA recently published a booklet on industry requirements for hexavalent chromium standards. Exposure to the chemical, which is used in pigments, metal finishing, wood preservatives and fungicides, can cause lung cancer and damage to the nose, throat and respiratory system, according to an OSHA press release. Inhaling hexavalent chromium fumes also can trigger an allergic reaction or asthmatic symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath. The booklet, a companion piece to the Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards handbook, discusses exposure limits, exposure monitoring and determination, protective work clothing and equipment, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping.